Ag Briefs: CHS expects fertilizer costs to come down in 2022

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs

WASHINGTON D.C.

Regulators aiming at illegal, anticompetitive mergers

U.S. competition regulators have mounted an effort to tighten enforcement against illegal mergers, in line with President Joe Biden’s mandate for greater scrutiny to big business combinations.

The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday they are seeking public comment on how current merger guidelines can be updated to better detect and prevent illegal and anticompetitive deals in an increasingly consolidating corporate marketplace. The agencies are stressing the importance of robust competition to the economy, workers, consumers and small businesses.

Biden issued a sweeping executive order in July that highlighted outsized market power in industries including Big Tech, health care, airlines and agriculture. 

COLUMBIA, S.C.

Duck is first wild bird flu case in US in 5 years

A duck killed by a hunter in South Carolina had a contagious and dangerous bird flu that has not been detected in the wild in the U.S. in five years, officials said.

The flu poses a low risk to people but can spread quickly through chicken houses and other poultry businesses.

The Eurasian H5 avian influenza was first detected by Clemson University scientists and confirmed by federal testing, the school said in a news release.

The USDA alerted global health officials. Scattered Eurasian H5 infections have been detected in 2022 from Portugal to Bulgaria and in December, two cases were reported in eastern Canada, officials said.

"So far we have no indication that (the flu) has jumped from wild migratory birds to poultry and we'd very much like to keep it that way," State Veterinarian Michael J. Neault said.

MADISON, WI

New rust detected in Wisconsin

The rust fungus Gymnosporangium yamadae, which causes Japanese Apple Rust or Lipstick Rust, was detected for the first time in Wisconsin in 2021 on a “Satin Cloud” crabapple.

This rust is native to China and the first U.S. detection was in 2009 on a crabapple in Pennsylvania. G. yamadae infects both junipers and apples, and it is especially destructive when both host species are in close proximity, allowing the rust to complete its life cycle by moving between both hosts.

In apples, the fungus infects leaves where it causes bright red spots with pycnia on the upper leaf surface in late spring to early summer. In junipers, symptoms of infection include stem swellings, galls, and orange, gelatinous, tongue-shaped telial horns. .

MADISON, WI

WDE accepting nominations for 2022 recognition awards

Nominations for the 2022 World Dairy Expo Recognition Awards are being accepted through Feb.1, 2022 in honoring dairy industry leaders in three different categories including Dairy Producer of the Year, Industry Person of the Year, and International Person of the Year.

Qualifications for each award include: Dairy Producer(s) of the Year: Presented to an active dairy producer whose primary source of income is derived from his or her dairy enterprise; Industry Person(s) of the Year: This award is presented in recognition of an individual’s excellence in research, development, education, marketing, manufacturing or other fields, which are a part of an industry or institution that provides goods or services to the dairy industry; International Person(s) of the Year: Living primarily outside of the U.S.to be recognized for their contribution to international research, development, education, marketing, manufacturing or other fields, which are a part of an industry or institution that provides goods or services to the international dairy industry.

The nomination form is available at worlddairyexpo.com or by contacting the Expo office at 608-224-6455 or wde@wdexpo.com. The individuals will be recognized on Oct. 5 during World Dairy Expo 2022 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis.

CEDAR FALLS, IA

IA man arrested after hundreds of pigs die from alleged neglect

An Iowa man has been arrested after hundreds of pigs died at his farm last month after they went without adequate food and were kept in conditions so cold that some of their ears froze off.

Black Hawk County sheriff’s deputies arrested the 38-year-old man Monday on one count of livestock neglect, a misdemeanor, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported.

The man had been hired to raise 2,500 baby pigs until they reached around 280 pounds, according to court records. The animals were delivered to his farm in rural Cedar Falls in late December with 15 tons of feed.

By Dec. 30, a consultant found that 800 of the pigs had died and that the animals didn’t have ready access to water and some didn’t have access to food. The consultant also found temperatures inside the barns was found to be under 50 degrees, when freshly weened hogs need temperatures around 80 to 95 degrees to survive, court records state.

Authorities removed the remaining pigs from the farm to another facility, 51 pigs perished during the move and another 60 died in the following days, records state. The hogs died of malnutrition and dehydration, a state veterinarian determined.

NORTH PRAIRIE, WI

Brown Swiss Youth Heifer Program accepting applications for 2022

Youth looking for support to purchase their first Brown Swiss should consider applying for the Nelson McCammon Youth Heifer Program offered by the Wisconsin Brown Swiss Association. The organization is accepting applications between now and Feb. 10, 2022.

“The Nelson McCammon Youth Heifer Program helps youth interested in working with dairy cattle gain hands-on experience with high-quality Registered Brown Swiss, said Wisconsin Brown Swiss President Josh Hushon. 

Award recipients will receive a grant for 50% (up to a $1,000 total) towards the purchase price of a Registered Brown Swiss female of any age. The program is intended to run for two years with the applicants being between the ages of 9 and 18 for cows and 9 to19 for heifers as of Jan. 1, 2022.

Applicants must be residents of Wisconsin and become members of the Wisconsin Junior and the National Junior Brown Swiss Associations. For more information or to apply, visit www.wibrownswiss.com or contact Christopher Voegeli at christophervoegeli@gmail.com or 608-558-4728.

WASHINGTON D.C.

Baldwin supports biofuel producers

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin joined bipartisan legislation to prohibit the EPA from reducing the minimum applicable volume of biofuels that must be blended into transportation fuel once those levels, known as Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), are finalized for any given year. This would prevent the EPA from retroactively reducing 2020 or future finalized RVO levels.

The Defend the Blend Act was introduced by Sens.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

“Wisconsin’s farmers and producers put food on our tables and fuel in our tanks, and they deserve certainty and stability from the government,” said Baldwin.

ST. LOUIS, MO

Equipment dealerships forge new association

The joint boards of the Equipment Dealers Association (EDA), the MidwestSouthEastern Equipment Dealers Association (MSEDA), the United Equipment Dealers Association (UEDA) and the Western Equipment Dealers Association (WEDA) have voted to move forward with a proposal that would consolidate the four associations.

This action is the first step towards consolidating which requires a vote by dealer members of each association, which should be completed in spring 2022.

Tom Rosztoczy (Stotz Equipment), chair of the long-range planning group says the goal is to make the consolidation effective July 1, 2022, and says the merger will benefit members with a larger, financially strong association that will provide more services to address the needs of today’s equipment dealers.

WASHINGTON D.C.

USDA invests $50M to improve equity in conservation programs 

USDA is investing $50 million in 118 partnerships to expand access to conservation assistance for climate-smart agriculture and forestry.

The Equity Conservation Cooperative Agreements, administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will fund two-year projects to expand the delivery of conservation assistance to farmers who are new to farming, low income, socially disadvantaged or military veterans.

Projects will support USDA’s broader effort to address climate change and equitable access to programs.  

NEW YORK, NY

Feds seize nearly a ton of illegal animal products in NYC

Federal agents seized and destroyed nearly a ton of prohibited pork products from New  York City-area retailers over the past 3 months.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reported that the confiscated products were sourced from China, lacked required import permits and health certificates, and therefore are considered a risk of introducing invasive plant and animal pests and diseases into the U.S..

APHIS says the prohibited products are of concern because China is a country affected by African swine fever (ASF), Classical swine fever, Newcastle disease, Foot-and-mouth disease, highly pathogenic avian influenza and swine vesicular disease.

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, MN

CHS expects fertilizer costs to come down in 2022

The nation’s largest farmer-owned cooperative says record high fertilizer prices aren’t likely to stay at these levels for all of 2022.  

Kevin Doyle is the sales manager with CHS. “Depends on commodity a little bit but we do think we’re at the high end of the market, but we will head downhill as we get into midsummer and fall.”

He tells Brownfield the market should correct itself because “What we’re experiencing today, and we say this regularly, this is a once in a lifetime thing. We haven’t seen this before. We do think overtime it will even out and balance out.”

He says natural gas directly influences fertilizer prices on the world stage and fixing that could be a fastest solution. “Really it’s geopolitical.  Most of the natural gas that flows into Europe comes out of Russia and Russia is playing that game a little bit.”

MINNEAPOLIS, MN

Border agents seize bushmeat at Minneapolis airport

U.S. customs agents say they've confiscated bushmeat multiple times at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport since December. 

WCCO-TV reported

Last week Customs and Border Patrol officers seized more than 100 lbs. of bushmeat from U.S. citizens returning from Liberia.

The travelers said on written and verbal declarations they had fish but further inspection revealed both fish and bushmeat in the same package. 

State ag officials say bushmeat is raw or minimally processed meat from wild animals such as monkeys, cane rats, bats and other primates. The meat can cause infection in humans and spread the Ebola virus. The confiscated meat was destroyed. 

HONG KONG

Hong Kong to kill 2000 animals after hamsters get Covid-19

Hong Kong authorities said Tuesday that they will kill about 2,000 small animals, including hamsters, after several tested positive for the coronavirus at a pet store where an employee was also infected.

Associated Press reported that the city will also stop the sale of hamsters and the import of small mammals, according to officials from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. The pet shop employee tested positive for the delta variant on Monday, and several hamsters imported from the Netherlands at the store tested positive as well.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, animals do not appear to play a significant role in spreading the coronavirus. But Hong Kong authorities said they are not ruling out transmission between animals and humans.

 Minks are the only known animals to have caught the virus from people and spread it back, according to Dr. Scott Weese at Ontario Veterinary College.